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Mar 6, 2020

Stevedores Back at Work: C.W.U. and P.B.L Sign M.O.U.

Operations have normalized at the Port of Belize Limited with stevedores resuming work. Both parties came to an agreement after days of industrial action on the part of the stevedores and strike action by the staff at the Port. The stevedores have been protesting since Monday, following reports that A.S.R./B.S.I. would be exporting raw sugar through the Big Creek Port and not the Port of Belize. A statement from A.S.R./B.S.I. states that the company is still evaluating the results of its trial run of having its raw sugar exported through Big Creek. The millers say that at this time, it is not changing its shipping and logistic operations. The statement also says that any evaluation of alternatives will be thorough and will consider all variables such as potential savings to the industry, including cane farmers and faster loading rates through a deep water port. The stevedores forced P.B.L.’s management to the bargaining table. Both parties met with Minister of State for Labour, Doctor Carla Barnett where several agreements, in principle, were achieved. C.W.U. President Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde says that a twenty-one day notice has been served as stevedores are prepared to return to industrial action if the negotiations lack genuine interest, determination to resolve the issues and respect.

 

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde

Evan ‘Mose’ Hyde, President, C.W.U.

“What PBL has done to us. What they have done to us is put our members through a twenty four hours of hell and…we explain to the minister what Port has done by participating in a process where we came to our member and we tell them that this is the way we will go forward. Our members accepted that process.  We cannot give any sense to those people out there whether they are business, shipping agencies, whoever they are-we cannot give them any sense that this situation has moved from crisis stage. This situation remains in crisis stage and we have to label it as that because these people who have been hounding for this situation to be resolve must know that they cannot go quiet, they cannot go into the dark ad pretend as if though if something goes wrong, if stevedores are forced because of lack of cooperation over the next twenty says, because we sent in our letter to indicate that we would go on strike in twenty one days. We have lost a day. We are down to twenty days. We need the stakeholders, we need everybody to understand that do not, do not think that stevedores are going around in circle. Who is going in circle? PBL might be going in circle but not stevedores. We have a straight line that is we have to create a security package in the event which we believe is high likely to the point that we are almost certain that will happen, that is the movement of sugar to Big Creek. On the part of our members over there in the shed, mechanic shop, the staff we have certain dates where we can get certain things from PBL. If those things are not done, we want to say again to the stakeholders, we will end up right here again to square one. We have said that to the minister.  And if we notice that when we get to these meetings that there is not a genuine sense from the party of the other side is committed to creating the agreements that remedy the situation, we are going to say to Belize and to all the stakeholders, we have no choice, we have lost any belief that we are dealing with a genuine, with any level, with any quantity, with a molecule of sincerity on the other side of that table.”


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